HOUSTON (AP) Rockets first-round pick Royce White refused his assignment to Houston's D-League affiliate on Sunday, yet another setback to his return to the court.
White, the 16th overall pick in the June draft, has spent most of the season on Houston's inactive list while he and the team figure out how to handle his anxiety disorder and overall mental health.
White's assignment to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Saturday looked to be a positive step in his return. But on Sunday, White released an almost 500-word statement where he said he wouldn't report to the team.
``I have chosen to not play, because the doctors and I believe it to be unsafe for unqualified Rockets front office personnel to make medical decisions, as they are not mental health professionals,'' he said.
The Rockets chose White in the first round after a season at Iowa State, where he helped the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament berth in seven years by leading the team in scoring (13.4 points a game), rebounds (9.3), assists (5.0), steals (1.2) and blocks (0.9).
The 6-foot-8 White missed the first week of training camp to work with the Rockets to create an arrangement to deal with his anxiety disorder within the demands of the NBA's travel schedule. He and the team agreed to allow him to travel by bus to some games while he confronted his fear of flying and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He flew to Detroit with the team for the season opener and then traveled by bus to Atlanta and Memphis for games.
But he soon stopped participating in team activities and said on Twitter that dealing with his mental health took precedence over his NBA career. Then came his decision Sunday to refuse his assignment to the D-League. Despite the decision, he said he still hopes to return to basketball in the future.
``I do wish to play, but I only intend to do so with the collaboration and recommendation of trained professionals,'' he said. ``The purpose of a doctor's confirmation is to ensure that health decisions are made in the sole interest of health and not conflicted with business. My only hope is that decision makers involved realize that doctors are the only logical source to decide action.''
Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.
But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.
“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.
Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.
“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”
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Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”
What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning?
The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”
Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.
“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played.
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Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?”
2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to.
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Without John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, Washington's three best players, the Wizards hopes of making the playoffs in the NBA's Orlando restart have taken a hit.
On Thursday, Wizards coach Scott Brooks joined the Inside the NBA team on TNT, where Charles Barkley genuinely asked him who has to step up for the team when the games begin.
Brooks' response was unexpected, yet also hilarious. Here was the exchange:
Barkley: "Obviously, without John and Bradley, your two best players, give us two names that really need to step up for you guys."
Brooks: "Well, I think we should play that game where you name two guys on our team besides those two guys."
Barkley: "Let me tell you something, I don't know anybody on your team! So I want you to tell us two players on your team."
To Barkley's credit, much of the national media has not paid any attention to the Wizards this season. The team only had one game on national TV this season, a November clash with the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers.
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When basketball does resume, the Wizards are six games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot in the East. Washington needs to make up two games over the final eight contests in order to force a play-in game for the conference's final playoff spot.
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